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WATCH LIVE: Capitals host Bruins on Wednesday Night Hockey

NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season starts with a doubleheader on Wednesday featuring the Washington Capitals vs. the Boston Bruins at 7:30 p.m and the San Jose Sharks vs. the Anaheim Ducks at 10:30 p.m. ET.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

CAPITALS
Alex OvechkinEvgeny KuznetsovBrett Connolly
Jakub VranaNicklas BackstromT.J. Oshie
Andre BurakovskyLars EllerChandler Stephenson
Nathan WalkerNic DowdDevante Smith-Pelly

Christian DjoosJohn Carlson
Dmitry OrlovMatt Niskanen
Brooks OrpikMadison Bowey

Starting goalie: Braden Holtby

[WATCH LIVE: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; live stream here]

BRUINS
Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak
Jake DeBruskDavid KrejciDanton Heinen
Ryan DonatoSean KuralyDavid Backes
Joakim NordstromNoel AcciariChris Wagner

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy
John MooreBrandon Carlo
Matt GrzelcykKevan Miller

Starting goalie: Tuukka Rask

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

PHT Morning Skate: The hockey world remembers Ray Emery

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Remembering Ray Emery. (TSN.ca)

• A tragic end for Ray Emery, a polarizing figure who led the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup Final. (Ottawa Sun)

• After signing a six-year, $37 million contract last week, a look at how an agent change changed the course of Connor Hellebuyck‘s career. (InGoal Magazine)

Logan Couture, who committed the next eight years of his NHL career to the San Jose Sharks on July 1, is ready to pay it forward. (The Hockey News)

• A move out the wing helped Claude Giroux revitalize his career, and helped Sean Couturier to have a career year, but could a move back to center be the best move for the Flyers going forward? (NBC Sports Philadelphia)

• A lengthy look at the single best contract for each of the NHL’s 31 teams. (ESPN)

• Vegas’ top line is good, but best top trio hockey? Nope. (Knights on Ice)

Ryan Kesler could miss the entirety of next season and the Anaheim Ducks don’t appear to be worried about it. (Anaheim Calling)

• It wasn’t just New York Islanders fans who felt the sting of his departure on July 1. His own teammates need to pick themselves back up as well. (Sportsnet)

• He’s one the greatest names in Detroit Red Wings history. It’s time to retire Sergei Fedorov’s No. 91. (Detroit Free Press)

• A look at Nathan Walker and the future of international hockey. (Puck Prose)

• Well, this is interesting: Troy Stecher’s closest comparable as he heads to arbitration is in Jim Benning’s family. (Vancouver Courier)

• A look at how Paul Bissonnette has forged a career in multimedia after forging one as a fourth-liner in the NHL. (Forbes)

• After signing Devon Shore to a two-year, the Dallas Stars are still in decent shape in terms of the salary cap. (Blackout Dallas)

• Oilers Nation is doing a player-by-player review from last season, and this particular review looks at if Edmonton is going to miss Patrick Maroon more than they think. (Oilers Nation)

• When Devils’ head coach John Hynes expects to fill his coaching staff and what he wants in an assistant. (NJ.com)

• How Andrej Sustr found healing through art. (NHLPA)

• The rollercoaster of a ride that was the first season of Fanatics handling official NHL apparel. (Scotty Wazz)


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

How did you react to Kris Russell’s own-goal?

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We live in uncomfortably polarized times, to the point where “Coke vs. Pepsi” often feels like a weird, unnecessary blood feud.

So, really, it should come as no surprise to witness the reactions to Kris Russell‘s jaw-dropping, game-deciding own-goal from the Edmonton Oilers’ painful regulation loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs last night.

In case you missed it, drop what you’re doing and watch this. It’s profoundly strange, tragic, and honestly unforgettable:

Could you really blame Nazem Kadri for his reaction?

Circling back to the initial point, there seemed to be two disparate reactions to the own goal.

On one side, you had the bemused, who were sometimes brutal:

Ouch, but also, heh.

Fascinatingly, many members of the Edmonton media were appalled by the snickering at Russell’s expense, and they weren’t shy about it.

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson tied it together, as he incredulously quote-tweeted those who were having a laugh. At times, it felt a little surreal.

Now, I’m not the only one to notice this, but one might argue that it says a lot about how the media around the Oilers works. One night, many media members wonder why you can’t criticize Connor McDavid for turning the puck over. The next, they seem to be getting legitimately antagonistic about the idea of people laughing at an absolutely astounding own-goal.

[Related: Jordan Eberle admits that criticisms shook his confidence]

So, allow me a suggestion: embrace a little of both.

Russell deserves a pat on the back, because mistakes like those are tough to let go.

I totally agree, but allow me to play the devil’s advocate: you’re also not human if you don’t gasp and/or laugh at that mistake.

Think of it as that moment when you or a friend bangs their head against a car door or other hard object. Unless you’re some kind of lizard-person, you’ll ask if that friend is OK, but you’ll probably do so while unsuccessfully holding back laughter.

Yes, it’s true that you can admire Russell’s willingness to answer questions right after that mistake …

… And it’s great that both his teammates and opponents stood up for him after the game.

But you can still shake your head in disbelief on that actually happening, and maybe take a shot at the Oilers’ shoddy management in the process. Because, really, sports are as much about entertainment as anything else.

We might as well fine-tune that entertainment and remember that human beings are involved the whole way.

(Looks suspiciously at MLB’s strike zone bots.)

Oh, and in other Oilers news, the team claimed Nathan Walker, the NHL’s first Australian player, off of waivers from the Washington Capitals. So, Edmonton has a reason to say “crikey” even beyond that own-goal.

Also, hopefully only minor bad news for Adam Larsson:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

PHT Morning Skate: The scariest goalie masks in history

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–The Pittsburgh Tribune looks at five things we’ve learned from Pittsburgh’s early struggles. The issues they have this year aren’t the same as last year’s. (Pittsburgh Tribune)

–Earlier this season, Mark Streit and the Montreal Canadiens parted ways after a short time together. Now, the Swiss defenseman has announced his retirement from professional hockey. (Swisshockeynews.ch)

–ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski lists the 15 scariest goalie masks in NHL history. Gary Bromley would’ve received my vote, but he finished second on the list, while Rangers goalie Gilles Gratton was number one. (ESPN.com)

Steve Mason added some spooky details to his new goalie mask. The Jets goalie has some of his teammates as zombies pictured on his new lid. (NHL.com)

Brian Boyle is getting ready to return to the Devils lineup for the first time since being diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. How will New Jersey use him? “Eventually, with a guy like him, you’ve just got to put him in. He’s done all the rehab, all the individual skates and now he’s had some consecutive practices. As long as he reacts well, we’re going to put him in soon.” (northjersey.com)

–Predators backup goalie Juuse Saros had a good season between the NHL and AHL last season, but he’s really come out of the gate slowly this year. Keep in mind, he’s still 22 years old, so there’s no need to panic just yet. (predlines.com)

–The Sabres have a four-day break in the schedule, which should give them an opportunity to clean up parts of their game. “We’re tied with the most games played up to this point. So it’s a good time to get a break, a good time to change the mood after a disappointing loss (Saturday) and just try to reset and get fresh for the week ahead,” said head coach Phil Housley. (buffalohockeybeat.com)

Nathan Walker was one of Washington’s best players in training camp. Unfortunately for him, that hasn’t given him much of an opportunity to play this season. Barry Trotz’s explanation as to why he’s not playing Walker also doesn’t really add up. (russianmachineneverbreaks.com)

–Team USA hockey player Meghan Duggan shares her musical play list with ESPN.com. There’s some Krewella, OneRepublic and even some Rihanna on there. (ESPN.com)

–There’s plenty of moves that have yet to pan out for their respective teams. The Coyotes went out and got new players like Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jason Demers, but it hasn’t resulted in many victories. Here are some off-season moves that just haven’t worked out yet. (spectorhockey.net)

–On the flip side, The Score looks at four players that are off to great starts in their new cities. Patrick Marleau is off to a nice start with the Maple Leafs and Mike Smith has been solid between the pipes for Calgary. (The Score)

–There are so many different ways for a young player to make it to the NHL, but there isn’t just one way. Hannah Stuart looks at the different ways that hockey players can develop into regular NHLers. (fanragsports.com)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Australia’s Nathan Walker joined Ovechkin in making history with Capitals

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No doubt about it, Alex Ovechkin‘s hat trick (-plus) was the standout achievement of the Washington Capitals’ 6-1 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens.

It wasn’t the only moment that made you really check the history books, and in this other case, it creates a new entry.

Nathan Walker, the first Australian born player to be drafted, played in his first NHL game. And in that first NHL game, he also managed his first goal. Watch the goal in the video above this headline.

Go ahead, let out a “Crikey.” His family probably won’t even mind.

If that wasn’t perfect and bizarre enough, consider that Australian Ambassador to the U.S. Joe Hockey(!) made sure to congratulate Walker.

As a reminder, Walker shares the night with Ovechkin. The all-world sniper enjoyed back-to-back games (actually, periods) with hat tricks and ended the night with seven goals in two games. (More about that here.)

It was a remarkable night for history being matched a century later – or for the first time – as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ scoring ways were also once in a generation-and-maybe-change.